January 24, 2023
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that negatively impact the optic nerve. The damage they cause to the nerve impairs your visual ability and, if untreated, may lead to complete vision loss. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 in America. The diseases cause a buildup of fluid pressure inside the eye. The pressure they create presses on and damages the optic nerve.
Under normal circumstances, the eye contains a fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid flows around the eye, nourishing the lens and cornea with the nutrients within it. After circulating in the eye, the fluid drains out through a system within the eye. The drainage system is the trabecular meshwork and is usually in the corner of the eye.
Anyone can get glaucoma, but some factors make it more likely for other people to get it than others. Here are some of the risk factors for glaucoma development:
If you have glaucoma in your family history, you may get it too.
You are at risk of the disease if you are over 60 years old. African Americans are at risk when they reach 40 years old.
If you already have high eye pressure.
If you have a thin cornea, there is a high chance you may develop it.
If you have high levels of myopia.
If you have had an eye injury or surgery.
If you have heart disease or hypertension, you are at very high risk.
If you have diabetes.
If you use corticosteroid medications.
Most forms of glaucoma present no symptoms in the early stages. The diseases develop gradually, making it difficult to notice changes in your vision until too late. The condition has often been called “the silent thief of sight.”
The most common symptom in the later stages is an increase in blind spots in your peripheral vision. You will have intense pain in the forehead or your eyes and reduced or blurry vision. You will have headaches, vomiting, nausea, and eyes redness. You will also start to see halos around lights.
Eye doctors test for glaucoma during comprehensive eye exams. According to experts, you should have an eye exam every year if you are over 60. People at a higher risk of the disease need to have eye exams once they get to 40. To diagnose the disease, the ophthalmologist will use the following tests:
Visual field test
Dilated eye exam
There is no cure for glaucoma, and most people with it usually live with it for life. The best treatment regimens are techniques to manage high intraocular pressure. You can get eye drops to help reduce the pressure, or you can have surgery to create drainage for the fluid.
Researchers are working on new treatments to help reduce the intraocular pressure related to glaucoma. One such treatment is contact lenses that dispense a specific drug while you have them on.
For more important facts about glaucoma, visit Eye Associates of New York at our office in New York, New York. Call (212) 650-4888 to book an appointment today.